A diet to put an end to your hot flashes « naturally »
East vs West
In the West, hot flashes are easily at the top of the list of menopause symptoms that women complain about. 75-80% of women in peri-menopause or menopause are subject to it.
However, it has been shown via several studies1 that in Asia, postmenopausal women are traditionally significantly less affected by hot flashes.
And a factor differentiating these Asian societies from Western societies is a traditional diet favoring foods of plant origin, including a relatively high consumption of soybeans and soy products.
Studies have also shown that in Japan, there has been an increase in the number of cases of hot flashes2 reported by postmenopausal women after the 1980s, in parallel with the westernization of the diet in the country.
84% drop in troublesome hot flash cases
However, a recent study3 published in The Journal of The North American Menopause Society shows that an adapted diet can significantly reduce these hot flashes, or even make them disappear.
This study recruited a representative panel of postmenopausal women suffering from hot flashes, with age ranging from 40 to 65 years.
The results found a 79% decrease in hot flashes, including all symptoms (i.e. mild to severe).
And 84% for the most troublesome cases (i.e. moderate to severe).
These results were seen after 12 weeks.
The study did not use any hormonal treatment, only an adjustment of the diet.
The participants followed a low-fat vegan diet for twelve weeks.
The preferred foods were fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes.
Foods of plant origin rich in fat (such as avocado or nuts) were consumed in limited quantities.
And each day, the participants were to eat 86 grams (1/2 cup) of soybeans.
Alcohol consumption was limited to a maximum of one drink per day.
Finally, to offset the risk of insufficient vitamin B12 intake associated with any vegan diet, even a balanced one, the researchers provided participants with a daily vitamin B12 supplement.
The positive results were not limited to their original goal of reducing hot flashes. Indeed, the participants also noticed an improvement in other symptoms of menopause, psychological or sexual.
This diet adjustment is therefore an extremely promising natural potential solution for postmenopausal women.
Why only “potential” and not “definitive”?
First of all, we have to acknowledge that it is not easy for everyone to follow a purely vegan diet, especially over time.
Also, the sample of participants in the study, although representative, was lrelatively small.
The fact remains that this is once again an extremely promising path. To be continued.
Are you interested in the experiences of women at different stages of their menopause? Would you like a reminder of the physiology of menopause and the main symptoms? Download our free ebook, Menopause Story(ies).
1: see for instance texts by Margaret Lock comme « Cultural Politics and the Experience of Female Middle Age in Japan and North America » or « Menopause: lessons from anthropology »
2: Melby MK. « Vasomotor symptom prevalence and language of menopause in Japan ». Menopause 2005;12:250-257
3: Barnard; Kahleova; Holtz. ; del Aguila; Neola; Crosb,; Holubkov : « The Women’s Study for the Alleviation of Vasomotor Symptoms (WAVS) »